Fake news and Confirmation Bias
All of us are a part of at least one WhatsApp group, where uncles and aunties forward all kinds of messages. Some of them are Good Morning messages, some unfunny jokes, and a lot of fake news.
So what encourages them to spread phony information over text? Do they believe everything they read on the internet? Then, why don’t they forward everything they see?
The answer is confirmation bias. We all have a narrative of what the world is supposed to be. That narrative is shaped by what we have been seeing, hearing, feeling, and smelling since we were born.
So when we find some information supporting our narrative, our brain automatically inclines towards believing that the data should be correct. This is known as confirmation bias. In contrast, when we come across information inconsistent with our prejudices, we tend to find that information fishy.
When your uncle gets a forwarded message that speaks something positive about the political party he supports, he automatically believes that the message’s data must be real. Hence, he delivers the message further. Whereas, if he finds something contradictory to his prior values, he tries to justify why that information must be false.
I encourage you to keep this in mind before deciding about the validity of any information you come across, and you will be surprised.